Kendall Graveman added to the White Sox arm barn

In case you missed it earlier today, the White Sox signed Kendall Graveman to a 3 year $24M contract. And Jon Heyman let us know without any major spelling errors.

So what are the White Sox getting from this signing?

Graveman is a former starter who has moved to a relief role. When he was with the A’s, he was an average-ish starter. He didn’t walk a lot of guys, but also didn’t strike many out. He was what a team would consider a back of the rotation guy. The Vice President Not Sure of pitchers. After the A’s and reconstructive elbow surgery, he went to the Cubs on a one year deal with an option for 2020. He never pitched in the MLB and the option was not picked up. He signed with the Mariners in 2020 and began his time as a reliever. It did not go well in the shortened year, pitching to a 5.79 ERA and a blah K/9 for a reliever.

This turned around in 2021. In his time with Mariners last season, he was lights out. His K/9 was over 9 for the first time in his career and he kept his WHIP to a nice .697. The Astros, whose bullpen woes were well documented, traded for Graveman at the deadline. Graveman didn’t fall apart, but he wasn’t great. His September included 3 blown saves and 10 of the 20 walks he gave up on the season.

The changes that can be pointed to for his increased strike out rate and overall success in 2021 are an increase in velocity and throwing his slider much more than previous years. The White Sox are betting that the September transgressions were the anomaly and the early season Graveman is what we’ll see the next three years.

Should we be excited?

The Sox have added to the back end of the bullpen to the tune of $8M/yr (this is a guess as contract details have not been disclosed). Without trading Kimbrel, the 3 of Hendriks, Kimbrel, and Graveman will cost the Sox about $37M. Without trading Kimbrel, it’s difficult to get excited about this with the glaring holes at 2B and RF. Hahn’s previous resume would make you think relief pitcher is one place he has spent well, so it’s surprising to see three of the Sox relievers in the top 20 reliever salaries in the league. Currently 3 in the top 15, but there are some closers that need to sign.

If this means, there is less to spend on SP, 2B, RF, and DH, I could see being disappointed in this signing. If it means the checkbook is wide open and it’s time for Rick to spend, I will feel just fine about this.

What do you think?


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